Advertising in the era of Social television

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October 11, 2012 by venke

Watching the idiot box used to be one of the most ‘anti social’ activities.  Television became the center piece of living rooms(and bed rooms) around the world pushing people into their cocoons. Technology and social media are now giving a new dimension to Television- “The Social television”

What is Social Tv? As per Nielsen the following could be classified as Social TV.

  1. Watching TV while engaged on a mobile device.
  2. Connected TV- Hardware that helps watch TV and staying connected  socially at the same time. (example: Smart TV)
  3. Digital TV: Watching TV on a connected device(mobile, Laptop or computer)

The attention of audience watching TV becomes quite distracted while they are engaged on a mobile device. Texting, surfing, chatting, tweeting, emailing while watching TV has become quite common. This puts a question mark on the effectiveness of traditional media plans and ad spots even for the highest TRP spots. What is the point in buying them if people are passively watching them?

However there is an interesting upside to this behavior.  If the content in the ad has a relevant and unique social connect, then there is a massive spike in social response for the brand during that ad spot.

This can happen in a variety of ways.
Heineken developed a mobile App Star Player with a real-time game around the Champions League. The app content corresponded to the actual ‘real’ game progress.

Users could only unlock a game about 10 minutes before the actual game started and then had to answer a series of questions based on the real-time game play. The questions were predictive, asking fans about action in the game such as corner kicks or whether an attempt on goal was going to go in. The app makes the interaction almost real time and therefore far more exciting than just sending a text message.

Coca cola in Hong Kong developed a iphone App where teens could catch the tumbling bottle caps from TVC and realise instant rewards/ content. Therefore making the TVC most waited and most watched activity.

Social Television can be impactful without apps, As you can see in the below Sundrop spot below, the marketer smartly used  a hashtag #howudropit. The hashtag acted as a fuel for twitter conversations. This small brand with comparatively  lesser ad spend  share became an instant social hit.

Mentions in the context of the brand and otherwise fueled Sundrop to be one of the most ‘talked’ about brands during the Super Bowl season. The trick lies in how well the hashtag compliments the content (of the ad) to be a conversation starter. There are tons of ads all over the world who dumbly display facebook id or twitter id or an irrelevant hashtag which fail to elicit much response.

Measuring pre and post TVC spot social buzz  can be an indicator of the effectiveness of the TVC (creative and the media buy) Some brands have already started measuring this in some markets. This may soon become a norm. Therefore clients and agencies need to start ‘socialising’ their brands.

(with assistance from Piotr J, Digital Strategist, Leo Burnett Worldwide- Jakarta)

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